I had just finished accompanying a group consisting of really important people in the incentive travel industry. We were one of the organizing committee responsible in bringing these people to Malaysia, to showcase Malaysia as an incentive destination. Incentive is a reward programme that organizations give vacation or travel opportunities to their employee that perfom well or achieve certain target. Normally, multi level marketing organizations or corporate companies have this kind of reward programme. Incentive is actually a serious business and a lot of countries are becoming more aware of this and thus becoming more competitive in their bids.
I had the cheek to ask one of them what does she think about Malaysia now that she is already here, and according to the so-called professional in the incentive industry, Malaysia is unknown in the world map, or to be more specific, in the American map. Did I mention that most of them are from the United States? Go figure. Most Americans don't own a passport thus never travel, and probably don't know their own states. Just watch the new reality tv show "Are you smarter than a 5th Grader". Its amusing that Americans find ways to humiliate themselves.
Another incident was that during one of the hosted dinners, I went to the restroom and opened my headscarf to adjust it. In walk one of the group member and she just ignored me. I said hi to her, and asked her if she didn't recognized me because I wasn't wearing the headscarf. She was quite startled by my question but was polite enough to say hi and spoke to me. Later on the 42nd floor of the Petronas Twin Towers, she approached me and said that it was true that she didn't recognize me that night in the restroom. Its funny, she observed, that beneath the headscarf, I was still the same person.
We also brought this group to Putrajaya, and the the group literally dropped their jaws seeing the beauty of Putrajaya and the fact that we have developed so much in our 50 years of independence. Hopefully this experience will open their eyes to Malaysia and not just think that we are a 3rd world country, with no tall buildings, no amenities, no facilities. We have progressed beautifully and my hope for the future is that it won't be ruined by our current situation.